Mark Van Doren poems
Mark Van Doren(June 13, 1894 - December 10, 1972 / Hope, Illinois,)
Our Lady Peace
- by Mark Van Doren 63How far is it to peace, the piper sighed,
The solitary, sweating as he paused.
Asphalt the noon; the ravens, terrified,
Fled carrion thunder that percussion caused.
The envelope of earth was powder loud;
The taut wings shivered, driven at the sun.
The piper put his pipe away and bowed.
Not here, he said. I hunt the love-cool one,
The dancer with the clipped hair. Where is she?
We shook our heads, parting for him to pass.
Our lady was of no such trim degree,
And none of us had seen her face, alas.
She was the very ridges that we must scale,
Securing the rough top. And how she smiled
Was how our strength would issue. Not to fail
Was having her, gigantic, undefiled,
For homely goddess, big as the world that burned,
Grandmother and taskmistress, frild and town.
We let the stranger go; but when we turned
Our lady lived, fierce in each other's frown.
He Loves Me
- by Mark Van Doren 59That God should love me is more wonderful
Than that I so imperfectly love him.
My reason is mortality, and dim
Senses; his--oh, insupportable--
Is that he sees me. Even when I pull
Dark thoughts about my head, each vein and limb
Delights him, though remembrance in him, grim
With my worst crimes, should prove me horrible.
And he has terrors that he can release.
But when he looks he loves me; which is why
I wonder; and my wonder must increase
Till more of it shall slay me. Yet I live,
I live; and he has never ceased to give
This glance at me that sweetens the whole sky.
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